The Hellcats’ third EP “A Coffin Full of Hellcats Vol.3” sees a change in approach as they expand their musical horizons by picking out wider influences and a greater array of textures. It’s still dirty and mischievous, but now on a greater spectrum.
One of the noted changes comes from the guitar. Aside from Rautenbach’s signature crushing fuzz he’s expanded his arsenal with clean tones and some flanging effects courtesy of the psychedelic era. This signals a change in approach that allows them more tonal versatility, fostering inventiveness throughout the EP that we haven’t seen before. But don’t fret if you’re a fan of their previous work – there’s still enough overdrive in “A Coffin Full of Hellcats Vol. 3” to destroy your favourite speakers. On ‘Baby We’re Through’ you can hear little noises as Rautenbach shifts between chords, a side effect of that colossal amount of fuzz he’s using. In this case it’s a positive testament to their DIY approach that favours feel over polish- proof of their insistence in avoiding any form of dilution in the studio.
The same is true of Beningno’s vocals on “Vol.3”. He’s known for his stratospheric screeching and you’ll find plenty of that here. Just thirty seconds into opener ‘Dark Angel Woman’ he hits one of his greatest screams yet, unearthly and vicious. But now thanks to the greater use of contrast on Vol.3 you can really hear how good his lower register is as well.
The EP ends with ‘Devil in Your Room’, the furthest that the Hellcats have ventured from the style they’re known for. Psychedelic flanging clean guitar makes its debut for the verse, further galvanizing their ‘70s influences and leaving plenty of room for overdriven choruses later. Quiet is not what this band is known for but with ‘Devil in Your Room’ they prove that they have the chops to pull it off.
Hellcats could have easily kept on the same track and churned out three more beastly hard rock tracks but opted instead to push the envelope of what they’re capable of as a two-piece band. The result is a more eclectic offering with clear signs of musical growth and enough animosity to please the pickiest of rockers.
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Listen to “A Coffin Full of Hellcats Vol. 3” below.